Unfortunately, there aren’t many places around the world that can or will enthusiastically invest in cycling infrastructure. However, as more attention is placed on climate change, global communities are attempting to curve the reliance on cars, even the use of gas-driven public transportation.
In this blog, I’ve discussed some of those places, such as Denmark and the Netherlands in Europe. I’ve also mentioned places like Portland here in the United States, although there are other areas where cycling is big but the infrastructure isn’t yet fully supported or funded.
But in an article over at the World Nomads website, 5 specific destinations are mentioned where the importance of cycling is supported by infrastructure.
What Criteria Make a Bicycling-Friendly Community?
The criteria for what makes up a bicycling-friendly community varies. However, it’s more than just whether or not a community has bike lanes. Over at the League of American Bicyclists, for instance, there are a series of questions a community must answer in the affirmative to receive a positive designation.
The questions are listed under five category headings. They are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Evaluation & Planning, and Equity & Accessibility. For me, the standout questions that are probably the most typical and significant are as follows. Keep in mind this is only five questions out of 23 that are asked:
- “Is there a Complete Streets Ordinance or other policy that mandates the accommodation of cyclists on all road projects?”
- “Does your community educate motorists and cyclists on their rights and responsibilities as road users?”
- “Does the community celebrate bicycling during National Bike Month with community rides, Bike To Work Day, or other community outreach?”
- “Does your community have a Bicycle Program Manager, Active Transportation Coordinator, or similar role?” And “Does your community’s budget have dedicated funds for biking projects and maintenance?”
- “Has your community formed partnerships with a variety of local groups and organizations to reach and engage with new audiences to promote cycling?”
5 Destinations with Cycling Infrastructure Support
There are a plethora of great locations around the world where cycling is an important part of the culture. In Europe, for instance, which is the location for several pro bicycling races, France, Italy, and Spain come to mind. In America, California, Oregon, and New York receive lots of coverage as cycling hotbeds.
But World Nomads mentions 5 places where cycling is popular, prominent, and supported by communal infrastructure. They are as follows:
- Madison, Wisconsin features many bike lanes, plowed in the winter, awarded bicycle-friendly community status, pedestrian/ bicycle bridges, a bike share system, and bike-specific crossing signals.
- New York, New York has many bike lanes, helmet giveaways every summer, the largest bike share program in the country with 27,000 bikes, and an NYC bike map is produced by the Department of Transportation every year.
- Utrecht, Netherlands is located in the most bike-friendly country in the world. But what makes Utrecht unique is its free 24-hour bike garage located near a central train station.
- Bogota, Colombia is neither in the United States nor Europe but cycling there is just as important. The city has 250 miles of bike lanes, Sundays are set aside with 75 miles of car-free riding, and an extensive bike share program with 3,300 bikes, the largest in Latin America
- Paris, France is, of course, the location where the Tour de France ends each year (and sometimes begins). The city plans to dedicate $291 million Euros to make the city completely bicycle friendly by 2026. Paris also plans to set aside 112 miles for bike lanes that will be separated from motorized vehicle traffic. Lastly, it will install 30,000 metal arches for bike parking, which will increase its current number from 60,000 to 180,000.
Other Bicycle-Friendly Cities and Communities Around the World
While America is still not making its mark on indexes of bicycle-friendly locations, things are changing (albeit slowly). San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, and New York are all making small dents as infrastructural support and funding grow.
But right now, and according to the World Economic Forum, here are the most bicycle-friendly places in the world.
Infrastructure dollars to support cycling as an activity is important. It’s nice that communities, cities, and countries around the world invest in an activity that only gives back in so many healthy ways. Let’s hope this support continues and doesn’t become a trend that fades away. But in the long run, I think we all can improve our world one bicycle at a time until we longer feel the need for personal vehicles and the threat of climate subsides.
Have a great weekend everyone!!! We’re having an early summer here in the Midwest with a temperate weather pattern at the moment, but I’m not sure how long it will last. I hope you all can get out and do a great ride, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who are also cyclists!!!